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Ride share, delivery drivers feel sting of high gas prices

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Posted at 12:05 PM, Mar 08, 2022

MILWAUKEE — Gas prices have reached $4 in some places, forcing many delivery and ride share drivers to reconsider how they're approaching the job.

Other drivers are thinking about getting out.

Jared, who did not want to share his last name, is a full-time Lyft driver in Milwaukee. He thought he'd enter the ride share business for about a year or so.

Four years after his first fare, he's still cruising Milwaukee with 183,000 city miles on his Toyota Corolla. But he doesn't plan to stay in the business much longer.

"I've grown kind of weary of fending for myself," Jared said. "You don't get benefits, take care of your own taxes, and I'm tired of wearing down this car."

On top of those grievances, he's now keeping a close eye on gas prices.

"It's definitely a contributing factor and it doesn't look like the prices are going to stabilize anytime soon," said Jared.

The Lyft veteran said he gets about 31 miles a gallon in the city, and last month he spent about $70 a week on gas.

He's now spending around $90 a week, and that adds up quickly, he said.

Nationally, the ripple effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine have pushed gas prices in the U.S. to a new all-time high.

The national average is now $4.10 a gallon. AAA says the highest prices are likely to stick around for months.

Jared said once gas hit $3.50, he made sure to turn off his car between rides when he had a chance to park. No more idling.

"That's gas I'm not getting paid for," he said.

TMJ4 News in Milwaukee also spoke with Joe, an Uber and delivery driver. Joe also did not want to share his last name. He reached out to TMJ4 through a Facebook page for ride share and delivery drivers in Milwaukee.

Joe drives an SUV and said he's thinking about going back to his teaching job.

High gas prices, he said, are forcing him to drive a minimum of 60 hours a week. It leaves little time to spend with his wife and kids, he said.

Others on the Facebook page said ride share companies need to raise pay for drivers to accommodate higher gas prices.

Though some, driving electric hybrids with better gas mileage, say it's still worth driving.

Jared plans to enter a trade as an apprentice, getting out of the ride share business before gas prices potentially force him out, but he will miss the road.

"I definitely will. I’ve told people that driving a Lyft is addicting in a way," said Jared. "You’re constantly kind of thinking about, there’s a lot of rides out there. I could be making money."

This story was first reported by Bruce Harrison at TMJ4 in Milwaukee.